You know, sometimes you see a play and your response is, "I am SO GLAD the playwright went after it!"
Michael Weller's FIFTY WORDS at the Lucille Lortel, produced by MCC Theater, was a pretty interesting night of a marital fight.
In about ninety minutes, a couple goes through the huge range of most of the bad things that can happen in a marriage. And it is done deftly. At times, it is executed somewhat oddly. I got the sense that Elizabeth Marvel, as the wife, was not the perfect actor for the role. She was supposed to be a bit of a wacked, ambivalent Bitch. It was mentioned. But she spent much time making smiling faces that covered up, what?
Norbert Leo Butz was more grounded and believable as the angered, frustrated husband.
These two held the stage for the whole evening. You have to hand it to them. Directed by the august Austin Pendelton, you were always pretty clear about exactly what was going on. Though, again, I think a little more mess would have been a great addition. Some random behavior that could add emotional depth to the words of the play.
But, rarely does a play go head on into the bad nastiness of a really rocky marriage. Applause is in order for Michael Weller and for the actors and the director who took it on and really made a solid sandwich out of it.